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SITE

(Satellite Instructional
Television Experiment)

SITE

was an experimental satellite communications


project launched in India in 1975 designed jointly by
NASA and the ISRO

The main objectives of the experiment were to educate


the poor people of India.

The experiment ran for one year from 1 August 1975


to 31 July 1976, covering more than 2400 villages in
20 districts of six Indian states and territories.

OBJECTIVES

Gain experience in the development, testing and


management of a satellite-based instructional television
system particularly in rural areas and to determine
optimal system parameters.

Demonstrate

the potential value of satellite technology


in the rapid development of effective mass
communications in developing countries.

Demonstrate

the potential value of satellite broadcast


TV in the practical instruction of village inhabitants;
and

Stimulate national development in India, with


important managerial, economic, technological and
social implications.

FOCUSIANG AREAS

SITE is one of the pioneer experiments in Indian television


scenario where television is used for social causes. The
experiment became a tool for mass education through various
programmes designed exclusively for the project.

The programmes concentrated on education, agriculture, health


and family planning. It was the first experiment to telecast
educational programmes direct from satellite to receivers

The earth stations at Delhi and Ahmedabad telecasted four hours


programmes every day. Programmes are classified into two:
Educational Television (ETV) and Instructional Television (ITV).

ETV

Educational television programmes designed for school


children. Such programmes focused on education.

Broadcasted 1.5 hours programme on working days at


school hours. Students are exposed to these programmes
as part of the school activity.

During holidays, the time used for teacher empowerment.


Varieties of content developed to train teachers through
the facilities provided by the project.

ITV

Adults are exposed to Instructional television. Majority of


the adults were illiterates. The village folk assembled
around television sets in evenings.

The project broadcasted 2.5 hours programmes in every


evening. It was a prime time channel to the adult stake
holders.

Programmes focused health, hygiene, family planning,


nutrition, improved agricultural practices and events of
national importance.

UNITY IN DIVERGENCE

ETV and ITV used local languages like Hindi, Oriya,


Telungu and Kannada.

Due to linguistic and cultural differences, it was agreed that


all core programmes would be cluster-specific, and would
be in the primary language of the region.

To keep up the interest of the audience in other language


regions. All clusters would also receive 30 minutes of
common programmes, including news, which would be
broadcast only in Hindi.

EVALUVATION

The social research and evaluation of SITE was done by


ISRO's special SITE Research and Evaluation Cell (REC).

The REC consisted of around 100 persons who were


located in each of the SITE clusters, at the SITE studio in
Bombay, and at the headquarters of the REC in
Ahmedabad.

The overall evaluation design was divided into three


stages.

The first stage, the formative or input research, was a


detailed study of the potential audience.

The second stage, process evaluation, was the evaluation


carried out during the life-time of SITE. This evaluation
provided information about the reaction of the villagers to
different programmes.

The third stage, the summative evaluation, involved a


number of different studies to measure the impact of SITE.

IMPACT

As decided in the original agreement, the SITE program


ended in July, 1976 and NASA shifted its ATS satellite away
from India.

The SITE transmissions had a very significant impact in the


Indian villages.

For the entire year, thousands of villagers gathered around


the TV set and watched the shows.Studies were conducted on
the social impact of the experiment and on viewership trends.

It was found that general interest and viewership were


highest in the first few months of the program and then
declined gradually .

This decline was due to several factors, including faults


developing in the television equipment, failure in electricity
supply, and hardware defects, as also the villagers' preoccupation with domestic or agricultural work.

Impact on the rural population was highest in the fields of


agriculture and family planning.